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Ultimate Bathroom DIY Guide!

Hello!

Sometimes I get projects that’re more complex than usual. Sometimes these projects use more than one of the services I offer.

Sometimes they pretty much use all of them. That’s been the case for the Bathrooms.com Ultimate Bathroom DIY Guide.

Bathrooms.com wanted to further boost their online enagement, so Dynamo PR proposed a web-based interactive guide, which would curate the best bathroom maintenance tips from the Internet to help people enhance and repair their bathroom. Dynamo PR commissioned me to design, illustrate and develop the guide.

I’ll be honest: I leapt at the chance. This was an opportunity to expand on my knowledge in responsive design, interactive web systems and comtemporary HTML5/JavaScript technology. It also give me a chance to do some nice drawing of bathroom items.

What? Some of us like drawing baths.

diy-guide-1

Anyway, through a mix of PHP (page generation based on an array of bathroom elements/tips), VBA (converting the spreadsheet of elements/tips provided by Dynamo/Bathrooms.com into PHP), HTML5/JavaScript/JQuery (the interactive Virtual Bathroom) and responsive CSS (the Tips List), I developed the guide.

diy-guide-2

Once created, I recorded and voiced the “How To” video to take users through the usage of the guide.

Bathrooms.com and Dynamo PR were delighted with the end results, and hopefully many people will benefit from the one-stop-shop of DIY tips.

Have a play now and please feel free to share it: www.bathrooms.com/ultimate-bathroom-diy-guide.

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If you’re looking have a high quality interactive web-based app created then I’d love to work with you on it. Please get in touch!

Otherwise, just enjoy playing around in the guide 🙂

Tarrah for now,

Pat

Posted on Thu 27 Feb in Coding,Creative,Drawing,Video,Voice,Web Design,Work with No Comments

Making a Marryoke Video: Some Tips

Marry What Now?

Allow me to explain.  A month and a half ago my awesome youngest brother Andrew was married to his awesome long-time girlfriend Sally.  As part of the day, they’d asked me if I’d be up for recording people at various points of the day miming to Five’s “Keep on Moving”, to later composite together over the song itself.  I, of course, said “hell yeah!”, thinking it was the most bizarre yet hilarious idea.

It turn out that this was already a phenomenon… known as Marryoke.

What Did You Make?

Before I show you, I want to admit something: the production quality’s not amazing.  In my defence my brief was “just record bits I you get a chance, don’t spend all your time on it, you’ve gotta have fun”.  So unlike in other Marryoke videos, I didn’t want to take over the wedding with it – i.e. no bits with the bride and groom at the actual ceremony, no bits with the confetti, no bits at the speeches.  I don’t see that as a bad thing: it was an intentional decision.  One thing that I regretted was a lack of a plan: in the end I had tonnes of material for particular parts of the song and hardly any for other bits.  Also, as – er – certain liquids were consumed, the filming quality was – er – altered… 🙂

But to be honest, I’m being picky here: the key aim of the marryoke video was to act as a great way to remember the fun of the day.  And I’m happy to say it’s served its purpose.

Anyway, all excuses aside, here it is:

So, Any Tips?

Well, yes.

I certainly learned some lessons for this, and I offer them to you in case you fancy having a crack at it.

I’m not going to offer any “pro tips” such as filming / editing techniques, nor suggest camera models / ideal tripod positioning etc. I’m just offering some practical tips to make sure the content of your marryoke video is as good as possible.

TL;DR Tips

  • Keep track of what you’ve recorded / what you need
  • Make sure the key people are included
  • Have the audio handy
  • Record more than you need
  • Record positioner sections
  • Bring a Charger and Spare Battery
  • Editing: Use a decent video editor
  • Editing: Test the Lip Synch

Tips in Full

Keep track of what you’ve recorded / what you need

This is really, really important so that you avoid the situation I put myself in with loads of clips for certain sections of the song and hardly any of the other.

marryokeThe simplest way is to bring the lyrics of the song, which you can mark off as you go, but bear in mind you need to also make a note of which parts of the instrumental you’ve got clips for.

You could be as nerdy as creating something like that to the right, or you could be a little less anal.  I only originally had a list of the lyrics.  Would I go so far as to the anal list of things to the right next time?  Peh, come on now, I’m not that much of a gee… ok, ok, yes of course I am.

Make sure the key people are included

Again, really important.  Get a list of the people you’ll definitely need in it: the bride and groom (duh), their family, the bridesmaids and ushers.  Even if it’s just to have them smile and wave at the camera, getting them all in there is really important and you’ll have to scour through other clips, speeches etc. to grab them otherwise.  Trust me on this.

Have the audio handy

Not everyone will know the song you’ve chosen, nor have an idea of pace.  Having the audio handy to play them is really useful.  Ideally you’d have it split into various files, so you can easily play people the small part of the song they need to sing.  You can easily split an mp3 into various smaller ones using something like Audacity or the brilliant REAPER.

Record more than you need

You never know whether the people you’re filming will muck up, or whether something unexpected might’ve happened to the recording.  So record loads.  You’ll thank yourself for it.

Record positioner sections

Not all of your song will have lyrics in it, so make sure you record a good couple of minutes of “positioner” shots: outside the venue, inside the venue, the bride coming down the aisle (if possible), confetti being thrown etc.  It not only helps fill the gaps but it really rounds the video off and makes it more of a keepsake of the day.

Bring a Charger and Spare Battery

My goodness, this is a good thing to remember.  If you have neither, you might well be stuffed.  We had a charger available for the camera, but no spare battery, which meant that we had to have the camera out of action for an hour or so during filming various clips.

As a result, some of the footage was taken on alternate cameras, some of which weren’t amazing in low light.  A spare battery would’ve been hugely helpful.  Better still a spare (identical in quality) camera, but I understand we’re not made of money. 🙂

Editing: Use a decent video editor

This is really important in terms of being able stretch clips to fit to time (you WILL need to do this as some people will sing your song to quickly, others too slowly etc – even if you’re playing them the audio at the time).

It doesn’t have to be Hollywood-grade, but something like Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum (rolls off the tongue, no?) is both cost effective (~£100) and allows complete control over the positioning and length of your clips along with a decent range of effects.  Plus it natively exports up to YouTube, which is very handy for sharing.  There are plenty of other decent programs out there, and many offer demos so you can test out the features.

Editing: Test the Lip Synch

One thing I found when using Sony Vegas Movie Stu… Vegas was that although the lip synch appeared perfect when previewing in the program itself, the audio was around 0.25 seconds off from the video once a video was exported. 

The best way to test this is to select a few seconds of your clip that appears fine, export it at high quality (low quality can cock up the lip synch of its own accord in my experience) and see for yourself.

Fine tune the positioning of the music audio track (the whole thing, not just a few seconds of it – as you want the fine tuning to affect the entire video of course) and export again.  It’s rather iterative but it’s worth it.

Well, there you go.  A ramble about something you will probably not be inclined to ever do.  You’re most, most welcome.

Toodles,

Pat

Posted on Wed 17 Apr in Creative,Thoughts,Video with No Comments

Burly and Grum – The Video!

Howdy!

Well, that was a fun and daunting experience. What was, you ask? Why, the reading out of Kate Tenbeth’s Burly and Grum and The Tiger’s Tale at Tiny Tigers (part of Save Wild Tigers) at London St. Pancras station.

We were expecting a few 5-8 year olds. What we got was quite a few 3 to 5 year olds! So a little younger than expected, so I had to ad lib on occasion, but still good fun and the majority of the kids’ attentions were held for the full 30 minutes of reading!

“Is there a video of this event?”

Well, yes. Yes there is.

“Can I see it?”

Yes, yes you can.

“Well…?”

Ok, ok, here it is. Just… sorry to you if you’re Scottish, have Scottish people in your family, know Scottish people, have ever been to Scotland or have watched Billy Connolly:

Cheers,

Pat

Posted on Mon 18 Mar in Audio Book,Fun,Video,Voice with No Comments

Improving – and Speed Running – Quibble’s Quest

websitepngYo yo!

Since completing the initial version of Quibble’s Quest (that which got me the award to the right. Did I mention the award? Am I starting to sound like a big headed moron now? Yes? Ah. Er… I have a lot to learn still! How’s that? Better? Not enough? Still sounded big headed? Er… ABANDON PARENTHESES!) I’ve been doing further testing on (a.k.a. playing) it, and collecting feedback from those who’ve been playing it.

I’m planning on getting the game into a well-presented, bug-free state so I can consider it done – or at least ready for later expansion. I’m getting there!

Improvements Since The Original

Bugs Fixed

  • When the player is standing on the edge of a moving platform, when a platform changes direction the player can fall off.
  • When the player dies, bullets remain on screen after “rebirth”.
  • Timer reset visible after level fade-in.
  • Some background graphic highlights appear in front of the player.

UI Enhancements

  • “Press Esc to Pause” tip displayed on screen, to show player how the pause menu can be displayed

Learning Curve Enhancements

  • Added a “You need to destroy all baddies” pop up message if player walks in front of exit without destroying all baddies first (note: doesn’t stop play).
  • Added a “All baddies destroyed! Now find the exit” pop up message once all baddies destroyed (note: doesn’t stop play).
  • Increased length of particular tricky platforms on all levels (and repositioned one baddy branch on level 3 to align it vertically with a player branch).
  • Increased time allocation for Bronze and Silver awards.

Graphical Enhancements

  • Level 3 graphics dramatically improved (although work still required).
  • Level 2 graphics improved (added additional BG to create more visual interest).
  • Animated / better looking water graphics (tinted per level to represent water / lava / mud).
  • Consistent exit door graphic used across levels (and “Exit” logo displayed above door).
  • Replaced grey circle with a thumbs up blue “coin” for level completion outside Bronze/Silver/Gold timings.

Plenty more to do, but it’s a big improvement on the original release!

Speed Run!

My friend Steve from FCE didn’t believe that I was able to complete each of the 3 levels in under 20 seconds. He demanded proof. So I gave him just that. In a very low quality video:

Play it Yourself!

I believe that the second level is completable in less than 18 seconds… but can you do it?

adobeGamePhoto

Toodles,

Pat

Posted on Mon 17 Dec in Creative,Fun,Game,Video with No Comments

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